They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In the case of a child, that’s certainly true. A young child’s imagination is sparked off first by the image of the things she reads about, then by the words that describe them. She is far more likely to associate, for example, the picture of a tree to a tree itself than the word ‘tree’.
Therefore, a picture book becomes integral to development, awareness and exposure. Children do, in fact, judge a book by its cover all the time. And it is through pictures that a lifelong habit of reading is formed.
Children seek to connect stories with the world around them. Pictures make the stories seem more real and they can relate to them easily. For a child, words and pictures are the twin elements that come together to create a magical world of stories. Sometimes, even language becomes secondary to the narrative.
Meaning is represented in language and images, inviting the reader to attend to both in order to make sense of the story. When illustrations reflect familiar situations to children, they validate emotions and experiences, and by making this emotional connection, they begin their intellectual development.
Picture books help children understand that words convey meaning well before they are aware of the text. They improve vocabulary and help them identify colours, shapes, numbers, letters and names. Picture books can also help build background knowledge – for example, a child who has never been to the zoo, a farm or a beach can still learn all about these places by exploring picture books.
After all, any child would rather be shown than told!
Check out picture books from Karadi Tales!